Blue Exorcist 2
February 11, 2012
Kazue Kato – Viz – 2011 – 8+ volumes
Okay, I’m ridiculously addicted to this series. I liked volume two so much that I left work on my lunchbreak and went to a bookstore to buy the two volumes I didn’t have. And I work at a bookstore. It’s hard to justify spending my lunchbreak driving to another bookstore and buying something there, but for Blue Exorcist, I did it. It was that good.
This gets more into the story of the True Cross Academy and the exorcist cram school, introducing the other students and showing a little bit of how Rin keeps his true nature hidden from them. But mostly its a nice, gentle introduction to the other characters, including Izumo, Ryuji, and a little bit more about Shiemi. Kato is quite gifted at balancing all the characters and giving them equal parts in the story without overwhelming the reader or, really, branching the fights off too much to give the characters a chance to shine with their “specialty.” I really like the exorcist training theme, because each of the characters has a strength, and a role to play in battle, so they help each other out against one enemy instead of facing four or five different enemies split over six volumes or whatever Bleach does.
And while balancing the side characters, the emphasis hasn’t shifted away from Rin, either. His secret keeps coming up, and every time he can do something others can’t, it’s a tense moment, wondering if the other characters will give it much thought. There’s a strange scene in this volume where the other students test to see if they can summon demons and fight as a Tamer Exorcist, and for whatever reason, Rin completely doesn’t do this. I wonder if this will come up later.
I have to say, I love that Rin and Yukio are twin brothers, too. They don’t seem particularly close, and yet, they are brothers that seem willing to stand up for one another. Yukio has a massive inferiority complex despite being a good enough exorcist to be the freaking teacher at the training academy, and I think that will be a problem later, too. But I like that they have completely opposite personalities, and that always seems to lend itself to a lot of banter.
Honestly? I really like Rin. He’s clearly the Monkey D. Luffy of the story, super-powerful, able to gather allies like nobody’s business, and dumb as a brick. The last quality works against Rin more than it does Luffy, since Blue Exorcist takes place at a school, but it’s really hard not to like characters like Rin.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a shounen manga I’ve been into as much as this. Blue Exorcist is definitely something special, and definitely worth a read if you’re a shounen fan that haven’t picked it up already.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.